TOMS RIVER – Ocean County officials remind residents to be prepared for hurricane season, beginning June 1 and lasting through the end of November.
The height of hurricane season typically lands around late August and September, however tropical systems can develop any time, so it is important to be prepared.
“We have learned many valuable lessons from Superstorm Sandy which devastated the area in October of 2012,” said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. “We know that being prepared is the key to our safety and taking the time to make sure you have a plan in case of an emergency could be lifesaving if disaster strikes.”
The National Weather Service lists surge flooding, inland flooding from heavy rains, destructive winds, tornadoes, and high surf and rip currents as the biggest hurricane hazards.
Officials urge residents to prepare by having a portable Disaster Supplies Kit at all times. The kit should be updated every six months and include a gallon of drinking water a day for each person, prescription drugs and special dietary foods, a supply of non-perishable foods, a first aid kit, a battery powered radio, flashlights, and extra batteries.
“As a coastal area, it is imperative that residents and visitors of Ocean County are aware of the risks that are faced during a hurricane, tropical storm or a nor’easter,” said Ocean County Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy. “Knowing how to prepare before a storm, how to take action as the storm approaches and even knowing what to do during a storm are all types of questions to think about to be better prepared in case of danger.”
When preparing for a storm, don’t forget about your pets. It is also important to have Animal Supply Kits and Take-Along Bags for service animals and pets. These include a two-week supply of water and food, non-spill food and water dishes, cage/carrier labeled with contact information, favorite toys and treats, leash, collar and harness, litter, litter pan, paper towels and plastic baggies, and pet medication.
Pets should also have current ID tags and vaccinations, according to officials. Make sure to have a plan as to how your pets will be cared for if you have to evacuate.
Officials also urge residents with disabilities or special needs to sign up for Register Ready, New Jersey’s Special Needs registry for disasters which helps emergency responders better plan to serve them in disaster or emergency situations.
“Register Ready is a free, voluntary program that allows for extra preparation in the case of a major emergency,” Kelly said. “It will not only help our residents who may need assistance but it will also provide information to emergency responders so that residents could be checked on during weather events.”
To register online, go to ready.nj.gov.
“The Ocean County Office of Emergency Management under the direction of Sheriff Mastronardy does a great job providing resources during an emergency,” Kelly said. “Residents should also keep up on the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for information as the hurricane risk heightens.”
Advisories to stay alert for are a “hurricane watch” and a “hurricane warning.”
For a list of hurricane-related resources, visit ochd.org. An Emergency Preparedness Disaster Tips pamphlet is also available throughout the county including the Health Department located at 175 Sunset Ave. and the County Connection at the Ocean County Mall.
“Residents can use the Health Department’s Emergency Preparedness Disaster Tips pamphlet as a guideline for their own preparations,” Little said. “It is a great starting point to make sure your family is aware of the steps to take in case of an emergency.”
For more information on emergency preparedness, visit the Ocean County Government webpage at co.ocean.nj.us and by clicking on the ‘Be Prepared’ link.